YouTube: King of the trailer park, but for how long?
James R | On 14, Jul 2015
YouTube is the most popular place to watch film trailers, according to a new study. The research by Ipsos found that over half (54 per cent) of viewers between the age of 13 and 24 said they’re more likely to watch a trailer on YouTube than TV.
The figures come as no surprise: younger audiences are spending more time watching video online and less time in front of linear, live TV. Short-form video is especially popular, such as trailers, while some streaming services (e.g. Netflix) do not show adverts, decreasing the chances of users seeing movie promos away from YouTube.
What is surprising, perhaps, is just how much people watch: in the first six months of the year, users streamed more than 35 million hours of movie trailers on mobile devices from YouTube, up 88 per cent year-on-year.
The most-viewed trailer in the second quarter of 2015 was for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with 67.8 million views over the three months to the end of June 2015. Combined with Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (57 million), Jurassic World (27 million), Terminator: Genisys (19.7 million) and the first trailer for Ant-Man (17 million), the quarter’s top five trailers were viewed 189 million times – a total of 336.6 million minutes.
Demand for trailers has, in part, helped to fuel a culture in the media that heavily promotes new previews. As well as trailers, trailers announcing trailers are increasingly common. Some viewers are so keen to see the latest videos that piracy has even become a problem – not just for feature films, but for adverts. At Comic-Con this weekend, an exclusive teaser was shown for Warner Bros’ upcoming super hero film Suicide Squad. Within a day, someone had posted illegal copy of the footage online. As a result, Warner officially released the trailer yesterday.
“Warner Bros. Pictures and our anti-piracy team have worked tirelessly over the last 48 hours to contain the Suicide Squad footage that was pirated from Hall H on Saturday. We have been unable to achieve that goal,” said Sue Kroll, President Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution for Warner Bros. Pictures, in a statement last night.
“Today we will release the same footage that has been illegally circulating on the web, in the form it was created and high quality with which it was intended to be enjoyed. We regret this decision as it was our intention to keep the footage as a unique experience for the Comic Con crowd, but we cannot continue to allow the film to be represented by the poor quality of the pirated footage stolen from our presentation.”
While the popularity of movie teasers is clear, though, what is less certain is how long YouTube’s reign as king of the trailer park will continue. The site is facing growing competition from Facebook and Twitter, which have both launched their own native video platforms.
At the time of writing, the Suicide Squad trailer has 8.9 million views on the film’s YouTube channel. The movie’s Facebook page trailer has 9.75 million views.
A study from last year found that 81 per cent of moviegoers aged between 18 and 64 who watch trailers online do so on YouTube – but that study (by Millward Brown) and the Ipsos research from this year were both commissioned by Google, reports Variety.
Google’s 2015 research found that two-thirds (65 per cent) said that YouTube trailers influence what movie they will see in cinemas, while half (47 per cent) said they saw a trailer on YouTube before their last cinema visit. The fact that Google has commissioned research to woo the film advertising industry with its statistical importance, though, highlights the competition that is brewing in the world of online video.
The link between streaming trailers and cinema visits is apparent. Where the streaming will take place, though, is another matter.